Tag Archives: Christmas

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”


Victorian Style, Christmas, Santa Claus, Old, Men, Spirituality, Humor, Costume, nicolas

“He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy…Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.” And to that, I add, he makes glad the heart of us all.

Many have heard or read this touching piece before, but it bears repeating. Especially now, when there is so much animosity and division in the world.

Santa“Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.”

For the entire piece visit: http://www.newseum.org/exhibits/online/yes-virginia/#sthash.8cHedkhj.dpuf

Santa figure from the 1930'sSanta’s appearance has changed over the years, but he remains the same at heart. This figurine from the 1930’s is one my parents display each year. Note how much skinnier Santa was back then. It’s the Depression Era. Everyone was thinner. Plus, he also only has one reindeer. Maybe the others were misplaced, or he didn’t have enough food for more. Reindeer eat a lot.

I’ve always considered Santa a most forgiving and generous soul. He certainly overlooked a lot of my childhood errors and faithfully remembered me each Christmas Eve, for which I was most humbly grateful. Extending that charity to others is the spirit of Christmas, and I say God bless him.

And God bless us everyone.

‘Tis the Time For Christmas Romances


Hauntingly beautiful Christmas Romance

Hauntingly beautiful Christmas Romance

I’ve written two Christmas romances, hauntingly beautiful Somewhere the Bells Ring and my sweetly scintillating historical, A Warrior for Christmas.

The ghost in Somewhere the Bells Ring appears whenever the heroine is drawn into the past in the beautiful old Virginia house inspired by my father’s homeplace in the Shenandoah Valley.

“An intriguing, gripping ghost story with a focus on romance rather than terror.” ~Reviewed by Stephanie E with Fallen Angels Reviews

From Romancing the Book: “Ms. Trissel captivates her reader from the moment you start reading the first page. She has written a compelling love story that spans some fifty plus years and keeps you entertained every step of the way with the story within a story…I fell in love with her characters and look forward to the next delightful story ready with Kleenex box in hand. A must read for every romance fan.” ~Reviewed by Robin

AWarriorforChristmas_7288_300Historical romance A Warrior for Christmas features a deaf heroine and a Shawnee captive turned warrior, recently returned to upper class colonial American society. A vastly different life from the one he knew in the frontier. The romance between this unlikely couple is one of the best I’ve written.  This novella is also available in audio.

A Warrior for Christmas took me by complete surprise. I expected the usual tale of a former Indian captive transcending his past to live the life of a gentleman, but Beth Trissel’s exquisite writing skill made me love this story…No reader of historical romance will want to miss A Warrior for Christmas, even if it isn’t Christmas.” ~Two Lips Reviews (Five Lips and A Recommended Read Rating)

These two novella length romances published by The Wild Rose Press are available from all online booksellers.

Visit my Amazon Author Page, My books at Barnes & Noble

Touched by an Angel


Watching for Angels--Beth Trissel

I’m ever on the lookout for angels, pretty much anywhere. They can appear in the most unexpected guises and places, so you never know when you may encounter one. Angels may resemble ordinary people.  May be anyone. Possibly even us, if we deeply touch someone’s life in a good way. But back to the ‘real’ heavenly beings. There are innumerable accounts that range from the famous Biblical angels, like the heavenly host who appeared to the shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flocks by night, proclaiming Christ’s birth, to those who appear to everyday people. These stories fill volumes of books.

Have you ever met an angel, even briefly? I know a few folk who have. For one grieving widow, that brief illumination transformed her life from dark despair to hope. Being touched by an angel can do that. Another story is from a college student who fell to the pavement–hard–after she was struck by a car. She recalls an older woman’s kind face and a hand reaching out. Onlookers were amazed when this girl sprang to her feet, as if aided, and asked for the old woman who helped her up. No one else saw her. An angel, we’re thinking.

Watching for Angels--Beth Trissel

Another incident comes from a friend remembering a childhood visitation when she awoke from a feverish sleep to find an angel seated at the edge of her bed. She describes the face as human-like but says the features were more angular than ours and silvery. The rest of its body was luminous and seemed neither male nor female, but she remembers the eyes, green, and the reassuring feeling of being watched over. You may think this divine visitation was the figment of a child’s fevered mind, or you may believe that she saw an angel. I believe. Once when I was asleep I heard a beloved voice call my name, a voice as familiar as my mother’s or husband’s and yet it was neither of them. I think this was an angel and someday I will see and instantly recognize this being as though meeting with an old friend, and understand that they have always been with me.

In these troubled times, seeking for angels is a good thing. Let me know if you meet one. Maybe you already have.

Vintage Christmas Cards From Old Family Trunk


My mom took pics of the old cards she found in a family trunk. I love these nostalgic cards and the memories they evoke. Not that I lived back then, but the names are familiar and I’ve heard stories about these family members and friends who have gone before me. Some I even remember in their later years.

Vintage American Christmas Card with CarolersThe best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. ~Charles Dickens

Vintage American Christmas Card--excited boy peering through window

For the spirit of Christmas fulfils the greatest hunger of mankind. ~Loring A. Schuler

This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone. ~Taylor Caldwell

It is the Christmas time:
And up and down ‘twixt heaven and earth,
In glorious grief and solemn mirth,
The shining angels climb.
~Dinah Maria Mulock

Vintage American Christmas Card Kitty
The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect! ~Charles N. B

As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is. ~Eric Sevareid

Vintage Santa Christmas Card

Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year — and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority. ~W.J. Cameron

Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself. ~Francis C.Farley

early American Christmas Stamp

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air. ~W.T. Ellis

For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home. ~W.J. Ronald Tucker

Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. ~Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby

Old Christmas Card Family Scene

Ghostly Christmas Romance–Somewhere the Bells Ring


My fascination with ghosts might be the reason they appear in many of my stories. They don’t always take the same form, though. Some are sensed and seen only in the character’s mind.  Or in dreams. One’s a violent poltergeist.  Others are old loves…

In Somewhere the Bells Ring, the ghost seems perfectly real. When Bailey is with him, she’s transported from 1968 back to 1918 and the end of WWI in the same old house.

This is my favorite sort of ghost.  Some of the most intriguing stories I’ve come across have ghosts who seem solid, not vaporous, and give the person seeing them a glimpse of the past as though through a window in time.  And who’s to say that isn’t what’s happening?  Maybe a ripple opens up and allows a glimpse of what once was and those who lived in that time and place?

Can they see us in turn?  Maybe so.  And can there be communion with these corporeal spirits from the past?  Possibly.  That’s the premise for this story.

“When I see ghosts they look perfectly real and solid — like a living human being. They are not misty; I can’t see through them; they don’t wear sheets or bloody mummy bandages. They don’t have their heads tucked under their arms. They just look like ordinary people, in living color, and sometimes it is hard to tell who is a ghost.” ~Chris Woodyard

“I have thought that I have seen ghosts on many occasions.” Taylor Caldwell

“With true love as it is with ghosts; everyone talks about it, but few have seen it.”   ~Francois de La Rochefoucauld

“I fell in love with Ms. Trissel’s characters and look forward to the next delightful story ready with Kleenex box in hand. A must read for every romance fan.”~ Robin at Romancing the Book Reviews for Somewhere the Bells Ring

Somewhere the Bells Ring is a haunting story of timeless love, and of course, it’s true.

Blurb: Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative’s ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn’t so bad.

To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope–until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.

As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe–in Bailey and the ghost–before the Christmas bells ring?

*An old photograph of the Virginia family home place–the house Somewhere the Bells Ring is based on.

***Somewhere the Bells Ring is available in various eBook formats from The Wild Rose PressAmazon KindleAll Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook and other online booksellers.

Sweet Pea & Friends The SheepOver–One of the Biggest Book Sales of the Year!


I’m thrilled to announce my brother, John Churchman, and his wife Jennifer’s, children’s book, Sweet Pea & Friends The SheepOver, has sold to Little Brown and Company in a multi-book deal for an astounding price. The write-up is in Publisher’s Weekly.

Sweet_Pea_cover_rev_largeThe catch your breath response to this heartwarming tale lies in ‘Farmer John’s’ enchanting illustrations, coupled with the country lifestyle he and his family embrace in rural Vermont. Sweet Pea, the star of the show with her irresistible smile, was an injured lamb this past winter when she gained the sympathetic attention of John’s Facebook friends. Folk of all ages eagerly followed her recovery, cheering her on, and relishing John’s wonderful photographs. Word spread and followers urged him to create a children’s book. That’s how this unbelievable journey began. Less than a year ago! Sweet Pea and friends have their own FB page too, which I invite you to savor.

Initially, John and co-author Jen, undertook a Kickstarter campaign to publish the book. After meeting their goal in the first 24 hours, they continually expanded it to greater heights. But that’s nothing in comparison to where they’ve launched now, among the stars.

In A Storybook Life, a film segment on the television show Stuck in Vermont, Farmer John, along with Sweet Pea and friends, were interviewed last February. This charming glimpse into their earthy world is well worth a peek.

Sweet Pea smiling with her hay hair

(Sweet Pea with her ‘hay hair’ look and that contagious smile)

After John took Sweet Pea & Friends The SheepOver to a local bookstore, The Flying Pig, the co-owner, Elizabeth Bluemie, was so impressed she wrote up a fabulous piece for Publisher’s WeeklyWhen a Self-Published Book Is Done Right. Bluemie’s enthusiasm, coupled with John’s utterly unique illustrations, caught the eye of agents. Overnight, or sooner, they were knocking on his door. He and Jen chose Brenda Bowen/Greenburger Associates, who didn’t waste any time in bringing Sweet Pea to the attention of the mightiest publishers in NY and the world. John and Jen soon found themselves speaking with the heads of publishing houses, (unheard of!), each one trying to persuade them that their company was the best pick. Everybody wants Sweet Pea.

So yes, I’m super-psyched to share in this astonishing journey, and look forward to continuing on as readers young and old discover the wonder of Sweet Pea & Friends The SheepOver. Makes sense to me. As a child, my favorite toy was a cuddly lamb. Our grandmother took John and me to a toy store–a rare treat–and told us we might each choose a toy. Lambey was my choice and I had her for years, through multiple family moves, until she was so disreputable I reluctantly parted with her as a teenager. I’ve found her again in Sweet Pea,

Because the book is already so perfect, Sweet Pea & Friends The SheepOver is coming soon to a bookstore near you in time for Christmas.

***Follow John Churchman on Facebook.

**** For those of you who’ve wondered what the C in my email addy and other media sites stands for, it’s Churchman!

“Love came down at Christmas.” ~Christina Rossetti


 

Vintage American Christmas Card with Carolers

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.” ~Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas
(***Vintage American Christmas Card above from our family)

“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”  ~Washington Irving

christmas-cat-siamese-tabby-mix-with-bow“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” ~Peg Bracken

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!”~Hamilton Wright Mabie

“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.” ~Harlan Miller

(***Kitty Pabel helping to decorate)

“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” ~Alexander Smith

“Remember
This December,
That love weighs more than gold!”
~Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

candle“A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away.”

“For the spirit of Christmas fulfills the greatest hunger of mankind.”~Loring A. Schuler

“This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.” ~Taylor Caldwell
~Eva Logue

“At Christmas play and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes but once a year.”
~Thomas Tusser

“It is the Christmas time:
And up and down ‘twixt heaven and earth,
In glorious grief and solemn mirth,
The shining angels climb.”

Chritstmas Tree“Great little One! whose all-embracing birth
Lifts Earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to Earth.”
~Richard Crashaw

“Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.”~Christina Rossetti
~Dinah Maria Mulock